The following should not be construed as criticism of any of our current student-athletes. These Bruins sacrifice themselves for the good of their team and for the good of our school. What they should be able to expect in return is that the Athletic Department will give every team the best possible chance to succeed, by providing best in class coaches and best in class facilities.
The Directors' Cup standings have been finalized for all fall and winter sports. And UCLA is currently 25th. Here are the detailed standings. It is clear that Morgan Center is not holding up its end of the bargain.
The Directors' Cup scoring system rewards participation. You don't have to win national championships to do well in the Directors' Cup. Stanford is currently in 1st place (as usual), but has not won a national championship this school year. And winning national championships does not guarantee a good Directors' Cup result. I would certainly love to switch places with Connecticut this year, and revel in our men's and women's basketball titles. But Connecticut is only 37th in the Directors' Cup.
The Capitol One Cup more clearly reflects how a typical fan would view a program's success. First, all sports are put in two buckets- "major" and "minor". If you win the NCAA basketball championship, you get more points than if you win the NCAA rifle championship (all sports are equal in the Directors' Cup). Second, you only earn points if you finish in the top 10 (you earn points in the Directors' Cup if you finish in the top 64). Third, there is a big drop from finishing 1st to finishing 2nd- winning championships matter (there is very little difference between 1st and 2nd in the Directors' Cup). Fourth, there are separate tallies for men's and women's sports in the Capitol One Cup, whereas the Directors' Cup is a single tally for all sports.
As a matter of interest, UCLA is currently 33rd in the Men's Capitol One Cup standings (a cup which the Bruins claimed last year, thanks to baseball) and is currently 4th in the Women's Capitol One Cup (thanks entirely to the NCAA championship in women's soccer). Again, winning counts for the Capitol One Cup.
So, given the flaws in the Directors' Cup, why should we care how UCLA is doing? Because Doughnut's contract calls for incentive payments based on how UCLA does in the Directors' Cup. Doughnut does not get an objective bonus payment if UCLA football wins a January bowl game. Doughnut does not get an objective bonus payment if UCLA reaches the Final Four. He does not get an objective bonus payment if UCLA wins it all and hangs another banner for Pauley. But he does get a bonus payment simply by having a program with many teams which reach the postseason.
Doughnut has multiple opportunities in his contract for subjective bonus payments, as determined in the sole discretion of Gene Block (insert scream here). There is only one objective measure- results in the Directors' Cup. If UCLA finishes in the top 10, Doughnut gets a full bonus. But even if UCLA only finishes in the top 10%, Doughnut still gets a partial bonus.
And that is where UCLA stands rights now. There are 265 schools in the current Directors' Cup standings, so 25th place puts UCLA in the top 10%. This means that Doughnut can start dreaming about Tuscan villas for a summer getaway. He could probably dream about that anyway, given his base salary, but the Directors' Cup bonus puts him that much closer to Chianti at the source.
Last year, UCLA was in 8th place after the final winter standings were tabulated. Dropping from 8th to 25th would normally be a cause for concern, not an occasion for celebration and bonus checks, but this is the world of Doughnut and Gene Block.
UCLA currently has 456.75 points, to put some scale on the scoring system. Last year at this time, UCLA had 624.5 points. So there has been a drop of 167.75 points from 2012-13 to 2013-14.
The major sources of this drop are as follows-
Men's water polo- lost in the championship match in 2012 (70 points), did not qualify for the NCAA tourney in 2013
Men's cross country- 13th place finish in 2012 (63 points- again, participation matters), did not qualify for nationals in 2013
Women's volleyball- lost in the round of 32 in 2012 (50 points), did not qualify for NCAA's in 2013
Women's basketball- lost in the round of 32 in 2013 (50 points), did not qualify for NCAA's in 2014
These reductions were offset in part by success in other sports. The biggest upswings were in men's basketball, where reaching the Steve16 is worth 39 points more than going out in the round of 64, and football, where UCLA's final poll position went from 44th to 16th, which translated to 33.5 more Directors' Cup points. We also picked up 27 points for the national championship in women's soccer, compared to losing in the round of 8 in 2012.
Last year, UCLA won up 3rd in the final standings, behind Stanford and Florida. We got our baseball championship, and Doughnut got his full bonus. The Bruins will still rack up points in the spring this year, as the tennis , water polo and golf teams look to go deep in the postseason. But last year, all the spring success resulted in a move from 8th place to 3rd. This year, the Bruins will need to leapfrog 15 teams to reach the top 10.
Luckily for Doughnut, he has his base salary, his subjective bonuses, and his bonus for being in the top 10% to keep him solvent.
As a final note, we know that having the highest paid Athletic Director in the conference is not translating very well this year to national success. How do we compare to our conference compatriots, who are managing to compete without paying as much as we are? UCLA is currently behind Stanford (no surprise), Arizona (really?), Oregon, $C (gnashing of teeth) and Cal (despite the mismanagement of Sandy Barbour). So we are in 6th place, despite the lavish rewards to our Athletic Director.
We are most definitely not getting value for the compensation which Doughnut is receiving. We can see it in the empty seats at our revenue sports. We can see it in the mismanaged facilities renovations, including yesterday's Meh football practice facilities unveiling. We can see it in the financial running in place, where the Athletic Department has to tap student fees to break even. And we can now also see it in the Directors' Cup standings, a measure which Doughnut chose (and chose wisely) as his source for incentive comp.
Let's hope that the Bruins have a gangbuster spring, and add to our current total of 110 national titles. If Doughnut is going to get incentive payments (and he will), let's at least have a successful overall program, which would be a change for the better compared to our current position in the standings.
Go Bruins !!